Session 0: A Walk In The Woods
After and frantic chase through the woods Else and Ferdinand have met in a small clearing surrounded in darkness and not alone. The first drops of the rain predicted by the strange voice from the darkness earlier has begun to patter on the leaves overhead and the air is still chill.
Else Sigloben Else momentarily considers chasing after the unknown figure in the woods, but can almost hear her mother's stern voice admonishing her that "a bird in the hand, as they say"... She turns to the tall figure in the clearing, levelling one pistol at him and cocking it slowly and loudly with her thumb. She looks him up and down in the dark, and, scowling, she moves closer to her captive to get a better look. "Herr Gruber, forgive me, but you will understand that under the circumstances I have to proceed with some caution, maybe even suspicion. Can you prove that you are who you say? And maybe you can explain why a little old lady in a village not far from here believes you to be a daemonic giant with a taste for dead rabbit and her prize carrots? Finally, I am going to want to know why you are meeting with foreign agents in the dead of night in the middle of a forest? Hmmm..." And before the man (who it now appears is totally bald!) can reply, she shouts across the clearing: "Rudi! Get Burkhard here quick with the torches and the dogs - and mind you don't trip over your feet while you are at it!"
Ferdinand Gruber "Hmm, yes. I understand it is required by your occupational pursuit that you act in such a way, lest you accidentally stray from the archetypical example of your calling." Ferdinand hears the bitterness starting to creep into his voice and quickly stops himself, trying to reign in his irritation. "Regretfully, documentation of your liking would be difficult for me to produce at the moment, as I am recently returned to the Empire and therefore my papers are not in Reikspiel. Thus, they are not likely to be very convincing to you." "As to meeting with foreign agents: as I previously mentioned," he says with a slightly exasperated tone, " I am not familiar with these other persons, being that I have only met them the first time tonight." He raises his voice and gestures in the direction from which the other voices were coming, "New acquaintances, please approach so that we may be properly introduced."
GM Ferdinand pauses listening for a reply but the only answer is the patter of rain on the tree canopy as the intensity of the shower increases. Burkhard and a rather sheepish Rudi arrive on the edge of the clearing with the two dogs and each carrying a torch. Rudi has both their axes tucked awkwardly under one arm. [OOC: If you haven't already done so please update your respective inventories. Else reduce your pistol charges by two as you will be able to recover the balls but the powder will be consumed whether you fire the pistols or not. Ferdinand, you can replace the unused nail in your pouch but the lightstick has gone forever so deduct 1 stick from your inventory. If I remember correctly Else should be left with 8 x Pistol Charges and Ferdinand 9 x sticks]
Burkhard The Houndmaster "Got 'im then" observes Burhard stating the obvious. The two hounds strain on their leashes excited to be so close to their quarry.
Else Sigloben "It would seem that way, Burkhard, yes. You and brave Rudi here will be highly commended to your Elder when we get back. But there may be others out there, I fear. Hand me a torch. Then you and Rudi, circle the edge of this clearing with the dogs and the other torch and see if you can pick up a trail. I think I heard someone off beyond the far edge of the clearing over there - a foreign-sounding voice.", Else points at the East edge of the clearing. "Don't stray far from the clearing, but check for tracks or any sign of someone standing in the woods around there, and see if the dogs can pick up a scent. While you do that, I'll need a private word or two with our new friend here." Else turns to face Gruber: "I need your full name and your business being in these woods tonight. You find yourself far from the Gruber estates on the Bögenhafen-Wheberg road", she suggests, holstering her pistols and deliberately misplacing the estate's location, "Baron Bartush may be wondering what has become of you", Else muses, misnaming the Baron while holding Burkhard's torch aloft to get a better look at Ferdinand's face. Then, once the villagers have moved out of ear-shot she lowers her voice: "And by the time those two get back I want to have got to the bottom of that fancy light, you made earlier. I recognise magic like that when I see it, and my job is to do more than just recognise it. What do you have to say for yourself? Are you licensed? Or is our new-found friendship going to take a turn for the worst?"
GM Burkhard grunts but says nothing and handing you his torch snatches his axe back from Rudi and stomps off along the edge of the clearing the dogs still more interested in Ferdinand than anything hiding in the bushes. Rudi follows along behind and on the face of it is a bit more thorough making a show of waving his torch back and forth and staring at the ground. 'Hold the torch steady.' growls Burkhard 'Ow! am I meant ta see anything wi' you waving it about like that.' he moans. [OOC Secret Observation Test] The rain continues to fall saturating the tree canopy and gradually soaking everyone as the two woodsmen gradually move away leaving you and Ferdinand free to talk.
Ferdinand Gruber Ferdinand grunts. "Mmm. Barhold is quite aware that I am on my way home. I wrote to him prior to my departure. He will be sure to investigate should I not . . . arrive safely." He lets out a sigh. "As to your other questions: my name is Ferdinand Gruber, and my business is to return home. I have been out of the Empire for quite some time. Though if we are truly near the Bogenhafen-Wheberg road as you say," he eyes her with suspicion at this, "the only explanation must be that I am more lost than I had realized." His face darkens as he hears her words regarding magic. He had hoped she would not have realized the colour of the light was off. "I am, of course, licensed, would you expect me to be so blatant with its use were I not?." He holds his left hand up open and slowly and deliberately, to make clear he is not trying anything, pulls a piece of parchment out of his sack and holds it forth. The nail is itching in his hand as he carefully watches the Hunter's face, trying to scrutinize any reaction. In his head he is running through the words required to perform his Method and Procedure for Propulsion of Magical Potential from Inanimate Objects
GM Else holds her torch up and stares at the parchment intently. She can read but the words on the parchment mean nothing to her. [OOC: Secret Observation Test.] However, she notices both the wax seal and the crest in the top left show the mermaid design of the breakaway state of Marienburg and the signatory is clearly identified as Baron Henryk. Else's knowledge of illegal magic-use and witchcraft suggests that this is a license issued by the illegal magic college run by Baron Henryk in Marienburg. One of many scattered around the Empire and its neighbour states.
Else Sigloben Else stares intently at the document for a long while, not wishing to let Gruber see that she can make little of it. During part of this time she also runs through a quick list of checks taught to her by her mother as a way of determining whether one's mind is "under magical influence": sweat on the back of the neck, muddled thoughts, a slight glow around the face of the suspect wizard, etc. Frustratingly all checks would have to be rated as "inconclusive". She is flustered, and the man in front of her does seem to glow in the rippling torchlight. But... something about him, the way he carries himself, his exotic accent and matter of fact way of speaking, the fact that he makes absolutely no attempt to disguise his frankly outrageous appearance, makes her want to believe him (despite the fact that doing so defies her mother's first rule of witch-hunting: "pyre first, ask questions later"). She takes a deep breath to clear her head. The name Ferdinand Gruber is right there on the document, and the word "Marienberg", too, which matches with the man's story - and he knows the Baron's name. But a spy would have been coached in such matters and a forged document would not be hard to come by. On the other hand, this is not an Imperial license. Why would a malicious agent of a foreign power attempt to placate her with a document such as this - one that raises more questions than it answers? In the back of her mind, an image forms of her mother spitting out the phrase "international diplomatic incident" with utter contempt - best to treat carefully, thinks Else. "This is not a recognised Imperial License, Herr Gruber? And my mention of the Bögenhafen-Wheberg road did not refer to our location, but that of your supposed Uncle's estate? Do you not know where your own home is located? What brings you back to the Empire at this particular time?"
Ferdinand Gruber Ferdinand goes tense as the Witchhunter's eyes skim the document. His hand readies, the nail, expecting her to burst into action. Surprisingly, she seems to hesitate, and when she speaks again Ferdinand begins to think perhaps the stories he had heard about these crazy, zealous Witchhunters might be slightly exaggerated. "Yes, " says Ferdinand, and looks Else in the eye for several moments, considering. "As a child, I was raised outside the Empire. When my magical affinity surfaced, I sought training at Henryk's academy. My intention in doing so was to prevent myself from being a danger to others. This took many years of study, but I now possess sufficient control that I do not pose a hazard to innocents." "As to my return," Ferdinand looks around the woods, as if indicating the area, "I have been outside of the Empire for much too long. My goal is to visit my family in Weissbruck" again Ferdinand emphasizes his correction of Else's words, "before seeking a master who can aid me in becoming licensed so that I can assist the Emperor and his armies."
Else Sigloben "Well, Herr Gruber, it appears that you and I will be travelling companions for the time being. I will be most happy to guide you home to Weissbruck and see you reunited with your family!", Else smiles broadly with her arms out wide at her sides, before letting her face settle into a more pensive frown and bringing her gloved fists to her hips. "Of course, while you would be right to consider this a friendly offer from one traveller to another, should you choose to decline I would have to propose the same arrangement in a more, you might say, official capacity - and I am sure you agree that 'prisoner' is an ugly word in any language. Once you are happily back in the bosom of your ancestral home, you and I may choose to part company - that is, if your account of your heritage and your plans to enrol in the Imperial School of Magic are confirmed by the good Baron." "Now, once Rudi and Burkhard here have confirmed that there are no Beastmen lurking just out of sight, we will return to the village that you recently visited, to reassure the folk that live there that there are not daemons in their woods, and to collect my horse. I don't suppose," she concludes, arching an eyebrow "that you still have the carrots and the rabbit?"
GM [OOC: I'm assuming that concludes your private chat and so I shall move the game forward.] Whilst you have been talking Burkhard and Rudi together with the dogs have been thrashing about unenthusiastically in the undergrowth at the edge of the small clearing. It's obvious to Else that they have found nothing of value or interest and, for the moment at least, Else no longer senses that there is anything in the darkness to be found. Whoever, or whatever Fernando had been talking to earlier seems to have moved on and she can only guess where they were heading and what their purpose may have been skulking around in the Saponatheim's woodland.
Burkhard The Houndmaster Concludes his half-hearted search of the woodland. "Nuffin! here Hunter." he finally reports "Whoever, this cove was talking to scarpered when you arrived. Probly some of his mates planning a ritual or summat and we disturbed 'em"
Rudolf Herkenhoff Rudi holds his torch high and scans the edges of the clearing nervously, hoping Burkhard is right.
Ferdinand Gruber "Yes, your accompaniment on my journey home would be appreciated," says Ferdinand, though his face betrays that he feels the anything but appreciative, he manages to keep his voice mostly free of malice. "The carrots I have already eaten. The rabbit I left as payment for the carrots. As such, I am rather low on rations." Ferdinand will follow along with Else unless she guides him somewhere obviously dangerous or the wrong direction. Along the way, if given a quiet moment, he will attempt some conversation with Else. "Hunter. . . Sigloben, was it? As we are to be travelling companions, it would be prudent for us to be properly introduced. What should I address you by? And what were the circumstances under which you came into such a line of work?"
Else Sigloben "Surely", Else replies and stiffly recites the lines of introduction that he has used maybe a hundred times previously. "My name is Else Sigloben. I am proud to call myself an Imperial Witch Hunter. You may call me Else, or Hunter Sigloben. Witch-hunting is the family business, you could say. I entered the profession under the tutelage of my late mother, Gerlinde Sigloben. You may have heard of her?" But as Else's thoughts turn to the prospect of finding out more about the exotic character in front of her, her business tone begins to melt away replaced by a slightly faster, more companionable speaking style, bordering on chatter. "For my part, sir, I should very much like to learn more about yourself, also. I can say for certain that I have seen no-one before that looks at all like you, nor heard anyone that sounds quite like you, either."
GM [OOC: Shall I assume at this point that your party is moving back towards the village as it seems unlikely you will be standing in a dark wet forest having a chat. If nothing else I think Burkhard and Rudi would be looking to get out of the rain.] By now the party are moving off back along the trail they followed to reach the clearing. Rudi and Burkhard lead the group whilst Else and Ferdinand follow behind Else is still holding two loaded pistols to her shoulders whilst Ferdinand still holds his scythe in one hand and a nail in the other. After several minutes walking you see the hut ahead through the trees and rain.
Ferdinand Gruber [OOC: Yes Ferdinand is following back towards the town] "Hmm. Family business," Ferdinand says almost angrily, "I myself was refused a chance at taking over the family business." "As to my unusual appearance," he looks down at himself, "My father does not maintain the same list of prejudices as most of the nobility in the Empire. Though I will admit I never did understand fashion. I suspect as well my time away has coloured my speech. " Ferdinand looks back towards Else."Witchhunting seems an arduous profession to be taught at a young age. At which year did your training begin?"
Else Sigloben "My mother liked to say that I burned my first witch while still suckling at her teat. And perhaps she was right. The truth is that I have known no life other than pursuing the heinous and cleansing the corrupted. At times I wonder whether there even is any other existence." Else breaks off for a few seconds, stroking her scar absent-mindedly before remembering herself. "Herr Gruber, I have been thinking about our journey. Your family are in Weissbruck, or thereabouts. The quickest route from Herzhald Village is to ride South to the river Bögen, then follow the river first to Bögenhafen and then further to Trosreut and on to Weissbruck itself. It may be possible, with coin, for you to purchase passage on a barge rather than walk, but I will be content to ride Clever Hans, my horse, alongside the river. And talking of coin, accompanying you on this direct route to Weissbruck will, of course, rule out my immediate return to the Duke at Drakenburg meaning that I will forgo the payment I am owed for my work at Herzhald. However, I am sure that the safe delivery of a cherished son to the Baron Barhold may bring its own reward." Else glances at Ferdinand to check that he is following her line of thinking.
Ferdinand Gruber "Well, my plan was to head to Castle Grauenberg and cross there, though tracing the river does seem a more prudent plan than continuing through the woods. There are others about tonight." When Else mentions the possibility of a reward, she looks over, but sees utterly no reaction from Ferdinand. It seems either he did not pick up on the implication, or is hiding it very well. He merely replies, "I do not mind to walk." Ferdinand draws within himself further as they walk, emanating a cloud of brooding. Eventually, he speaks. "There is another existence. There is the sorrow of leaving your homeland, losing your inheritance, and fearing at every corner that you will be murdered, merely for a poor throw of the dice, Ranald looking away while you are born."
Else Sigloben Else feels her face start to flush as she realises how narrow-minded and thoughtless her previous remarks may have sounded - and she thanks Sigmar that her hot face is masked by the dark shadows through which they are walking. "We are, I suppose, all born to an inheritance that we do not choose. Sometimes it can feel like a harsh burden, no doubt. But many stories are told of those that were dealt a rough hand, yet played it well enough, even though the stakes were high, and ..." she can feel the analogy running away with her as she struggles to finish her unravelling thought.. "they may have needed.. there was likely some.. bluffing, at times, .. perhaps. Anyroad, Sigmar teaches us that we are each not set in a rut carved before our birth. Tho doomed, we are free. Free to even shape the world, perhaps.", Thankfully Else's philosophy is interrupted as she becomes slightly tangled in a low-hanging tree branch. "But, Sir", she regains some composure, "It strikes me that you must have spent a long time outwith your homeland if you thought a direct walk through the forest to Grauenberg Castle was a sensible way to travel. Sigmar knows what foul end you would likely have met on that journey. Far more sensible to travel the river way. Perhaps there will be time for you to teach me more of the lands that you have seen beyond the Empire..."
Ferdinand Gruber Ferdinand eyes Else with a quizzical expression as she fumbles her way through her response. "Perhaps it is true that I am out of touch with the Empire. You, for example, do not quite fit the stories I have been told about those in your profession. Perhaps I too have fallen prey to the fallacy of judging from secondary sources."
GM The tree's and undergrowth begin to thin now as the party move out of the forest proper into the felled area close to the village. Here the reduced tree canopy allows the rain a less obstructed path to the party and the cold wetness of it begins to soak into everyone's clothing.
Else Sigloben Else strides quickly toward the village, entreating Ferdinand to follow her. She sends Burkhard back home with his dogs and instructs Rudi to summon Father Leopold to meet them at Elder Heinuch's house, and then to check on her horse, with instructions to have Clever Hans fed and saddled in the morning ready for her departure with Ferdinand. She makes sure to impress upon both men, before they part at the edge of the village, that they have played an important part in rescuing a young noble from a grisly fate in the forest - a man with a striking appearance and noble heritage, but a mortal man none-the-less, returning to his birthplace in the heart of the Reikland. She thanks both men for their help and commends them for their bravery in the service of Sigmar and the Reikland. Then she heads for the home of Elder Heinuch, giving Ferdinand a quick briefing on the two senior men that they are due to meet with. The aim here, she suggests, is to reassure the pair that the village faces no Daemonic incursion, but that there be more mundane problems in the woods - poachers? bandits? - and that it might make sense to keep the woodsman on their guard and to report anything suspicious to the authorities, etc., etc., and so forth. Then, Sigmar willing, a hot meal for them both and a bed under a proper roof, perhaps courtesy of the good Father if they play their cards right... ...just, no talk of matters that could spook the two men, understand?
GM Angestag 22nd Day of Vorhexen 2512 IC Time Darkness has fallen. Weather The rain eases and a strong Northerly Winds clears the skies.
Your party emerge from the tree line into the light of the braziers that guard the approaches to the village and are immediately hailed by the men placed on watch near the alarm bell. Else gives Burkhard and Rudi their instructions and her thanks and sends them off on their missions then heads for the Elder's hut on the far side of the well platz. It appears that the villagers have not been idle in her absence and a large pyre now exists in the middle of the village constructed of smaller branches and unsaleable logs. But it appears that the rain dampened the villager's enthusiasm and apart from the watchmen most are in their huts or in the tavern hut drinking. Else bangs on the Elders door which is eventually opened by a rather groggy looking Heinuch.
Linden Heinuch "Got im then." observes Heinuch "staring over Elses shoulder at the tall dark stranger. "Leopold said you'd catch 'im, reckons it was Sigmar's will, Even got the fire ready. But good luck getting it to burn after that downpour. Guess Sigmar has a strange sense of humour. No disrespect 'o course hunter." He ushers you both into the warmth of the hut. "Better dry yourself I suppose before you go down with something. I'm sure the good Father will be over here any minute to inspect his demon." He looks Ferdinand up and down quizzically. "You sure don't look normal an' that's a fact." he finally concludes "If you ain't a demon then by Sigmar you're doing a fine impression 'o one."
Ferdinand Gruber Ferdinand shrugs. "I never have been able to muster enthusiasm for the intricacies of what constitutes acceptable fashion. Most fashionable clothing is extremely lacking in pockets." He reaches up and swipes the water from his smooth head, spraying it onto the floor, and partially splashing onto the Elder. He seems completely oblivious to the fact that this may seem rude and continues to wring out parts of his robes onto the ground while observing the interaction between the Elder and Else.
Linden Heinuch Heinuch jumps back to try and avoid the spray of cold water. Recovering he gives Else a sideways glance "I'm sure you know your business hunter." he mutters "But shouldn't 'e be restrained or summat. I mean is he safe like that?"
Else Sigloben "Elder Heinuch", Else raises her voice somewhat in an effort to get the conversation back on track, "as you no doubt could have predicted, Old Mother Heiler's carrots were not in fact taken by fell Daemons, but by a simple lordling. The deceased rabbit found at the scene was, thankfully, not part of some sacrificial ritual, but was rather left as fair exchange for a few root vegetables. The man standing before you is exotic, certainly, and..." Else glares at Ferdinand, "..may lack something in terms of manners, but you and I are no doubt aware that this is often true of those born to high society. May I introduce to you Herr Ferdinand Gruber of the Weissbruck Grubers, en route to reunite with his father Baron Barhold Gruber.", Else carefully stresses the word Baron. "Herr Gruber has spent many years outside the Empire and has apparently forgotten some of the niceties of Reikland society, including the notion that surprising an old woman in the dark on her way to the privy is considered impertinent at best, and that wandering into the woods at night is likely to be very bad for one's health. Luckily we found him before he got into any real trouble. Tomorrow I will escort the young gentleman on the remainder of his journey in order to assure myself both of his safety and that of the local area's cabbage patches. We will need accommodation until the morning. The village church will suffice and no doubt Father Leopold will oblige." "However," Else lowers her voice and leans forward conspiratorially, "there is a separate matter than I need to bring to your attention. In tracking down the young noble, Rudi and Burkhard (both of whom disported themselves admirably, I have to say, particularly young Rudi) and myself encountered one or perhaps more than one miscreant lurking in your woods. Bandits? Outlaws? Poachers? Their strong accent raises the possibility that there may be an even more nefarious explanation. It is possible that foreign spies are abroad in Herzhald Woods! I need you to keep this to yourself, but I would urge you to have your village men be on the alert for interlopers, particularly Wastelanders. Tomorrow morning I will write a note to this effect for the Duke and enjoin you to make sure that the message reaches him as soon as is possible. For the meantime, we must remain alert. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say."
GM It is hard to know how much of Else's speech Heinuch managed to take in. The demon is a nobleman. The woods are full of Wastelanders, whatever they are. The hunter and her 'whatever' are sleeping in the temple. And someone needs to go to Castle Gaurenburg in the morning with a message for Graf Wilhelm. He seemed about to ask a question when the door burst open and in lept Father Leopold his comet pendant held firmly ahead of him to confront the demon.
Father Leopold 'I banish you from whence you came foul spawn of Chaos.' he announces in a wavering voice trying to look heroic but failing miserably. Then looks confused as he realises that everyone else seems relaxed and the demon isn't even restrained.
Else Sigloben "Herr Gruber, Father Leopold. Father Leopold, this is Herr Ferdinand Gruber of the Weissbruck Grubers." Else has belatedly decided to opt for brevity.
Ferdinand Gruber Ferdinand reaches out his hand to shake with Father Leopold. "A pleasure to be of your acquaintance, Father Leopold." Ferdinand hastily withdraws his hand before shaking, realizing he still is palming the nail. He places it into the pouch at his waist and brings it up again to shake. "I take it you are a priest of Sigmar?" As Ferdinand shakes the Father's hand (should he accede to have his hand shaken, that is), he, as is instinctual for him while shaking hands, uses his Magical Sense to determine if the Father has any magical abilities.
Father Leopold Father Leopold releases the pendant from his hand and allows it to be shaken by Ferdinand. He seems lost for words his eyes transfixed on the strange apparition standing before him. "Y-Yes!" he finally manages to stammer in reply to Ferdinand's question.
Linden Heinuch Heinuch now interrupts with the question to Else he was formulating earlier before Leopold burst in the room and made an idiot of himself. "Hunter Sigloben" he says respectfully "If you are planning on escorting Herr Gruber here home to Weissbruck. Would it not make sense for you to break your journey at Castle Gaurenburg and report our success in...." there was a pause as he struggled for the right word "finding him to Graf Wilhelm personally." "I'm sure the Graf will be grateful to know that the threat to his village has been dealt with and you can tell him about these outlaws stalking his hunting forest at the same time. Castle Gaurenburg is on the way and you may be glad of the hospitality on such a long journey."
Else Sigloben "You make a fair and constructive point Heinuch. We will endeavour to visit with the Graf or his representatives on our way down the Bögen. Father Leopold, it would be an honour to spend our remaining time in Herzhald within the sanctuary of your place of worship. Do you think that would be a possibility?"
Father Leopold Heinuch nods his appreciation of Else's comment. Whilst Father Leopold with perhaps a slight reluctance agree's to the idea of Else and the stranger sleeping in his chapel. [OOC: Unless you have anything further to say to Heinuch then I shall assume you bid him farewell and follow Father Leopold to the chapel hut.]
Else Sigloben Else nods courteously to the Village Elder, then follows Leopold out of the building, beckoning Ferdinand to accompany them. Once they are outside, she surveys the village and then turns to the Priest as they walk, talking in an urgent conspiratorial whisper certainly loud enough for Ferdinand to hear, but not someone more distant from them. "Thankyou Father, I was hoping to spend some time with you and this seemed like a good opportunity. As the most learned and well-connected member of Herzhald, I wanted to get your sense of how the village has been over the last few weeks, whether there are any other signs that there might be unknown agencies operating in the woods, and also to enquire as to whether you might have some writing materials with which I could author an important note for my superiors. I would like to be able to report back that the village is secure under your ministry and that as the area's most senior member of the Church of Sigmar you can be relied upon to be alert to anything untoward happening in the immediate vicinty of the village - if you take my meaning, Father."
Father Leopold Father Leopold considers the question but looks a bit uneasy "The only strange events were those I reported and you seem to have resolved those." He says glancing over at Ferdinand. "As for parchment and quills, I can certainly supply you with those." He pauses again as you reach the chapel "Do you think the village is still in danger?" he asks
Else Sigloben "Probably not, but Sigmar teaches that we must ever be on our guard - against enemies without but also within."
Ferdinand Gruber Ferdinand yawns and interrupts the conversation. "Father, if you could show me to my rooms I would be much obliged. I grow tired."
Father Leopold Father Leopold opens the door to the chapel and invites Ferdinand and Else inside. "Make yourselves comfortable." he says "It's not designed for sleeping but it's warm enough with a fire going." The chapel is indeed a simple affair little more than a room with a series of benches made from local timber and a dais at the far end for the Father to preach his sermons. A door at the far end leads to a smaller room with a desk and writing implements. "If there is nothing else I'll see you in the morning," he adds turning to leave.
Else Sigloben "No, that is fine. Until tomorrow, then. Unless you perhaps have some bread or ale - I fear it may have been some time since our guest has last had a reasonable meal. Or slept under a roof for that matter." Once the priest has departed, Else excuses herself and makes use of the smaller room to write a note addressed to the Duke. It describes the fact that the rumoured 'daemon' has turned out to be a young noble returning home from distant lands, and also alludes to the presence of potential foreign agents in the forests around Harzvald - though this section of the note is written cryptically in an effort to prevent a casual reader from inferring anything about the Elf from the Wasteland at the Duke's court.
GM Festag 23rd Day of Vorhexen 2512 IC Time Dawn Weather Cloudy strong blustery winds from the south-east
Else and Ferdinand were woken the next morning by a dawn chorus of axes hitting wood and the distant sound of the woodsmen singing in the forest. Else had spent a fitful night and had risen before dawn to abase herself before Sigmar and beg his forgiveness. She was now already fatigued by her exertions and painfully washed and dressed in the back room of the chapel. Ferdinand rose at dawn and gathered his possessions. The wound on his right arm is crusted with blood and he inspects it cautiously as he washes worried about possible infection but it does not seem inflamed. Else carefully drew the charges from both her pistols before going to sleep and as expected the powder had been turned to slush by the rain and had to be washed from the barrels before they could be oiled and returned to their holsters. She now has eight charges remaining (4 shots for each pistol) Ferdinand still has ten nails and nine sticks in his belt pouch but the nails are those he scavenged from the hut in the woods and are of dubious quality and he still has reservations about using them. [OOC: Today's Objectives: Else to send the Duke her message. Else and Ferdinand to head for Castle Grauenberg to report to Graf Wilhelm about the events in the village.]
Ferdinand Gruber Ferdinand walks up to Else. "I hope you had a pleasant night." He looks up at the sky."It is cloudy. I have some business to attend to then we may depart." Ferdinand palms one of the nails, then makes his way to find the woodcutters he had scared. Assuming they don't run away, he will speak with them: "Good morning, it is cloudy. I must express my chagrin at the commotion and discomfort I caused you all yesterday. Would any of you know where I could obtain some horseshoe nails? I would, of course, provide payment for them."
GM By the time Else and Ferdinand emerge from the chapel the village is already awake and into in its daily routine. Most of the men can be heard in the forest whilst the women have started their chores and a large group is clustered around the well either collecting water or washing clothing. A dray is being loaded with logs in the distance pulled by one the villages precious dray horses, it will no doubt be heading for Bogenhaffen once loaded. A round trip of two days with the draymen stopping overnight in the town. Ferdinand's appearance has the instant effect of bringing all normal activity in the area around the well to an instant halt Children immediately run to their mothers who stare wide-eyed at the strange-looking creature that has just appeared in their midst. The sudden silence obviously caught Rudi's attention. He was in the stable again spending time with the Witch-hunters horse 'Clever Hans' and when he hears Ferdinand ask about horseshoe nails he leaves his work and emerges into the open. "You want me father." he answers "e's the blacksmith he'll have shoes and nails fer the dray 'orses.' Rudi points to a smithy over near the edge of the village where a smith can be seen checking the shoes on the horses waiting to draw the dray wagons.
Ferdinand Gruber Ferdinand nods and heads over to the indicated location, and approaches the smith. "Greetings, smith. I am in need of some horseshoe nails. How much would you charge for twenty?"
Else Sigloben Else nods at Ferdinand as he heads off to do his business. She initially intends to walk to the Priest's place to ask about some breakfast, but, noticing the dray, she decides to enquire about the possibility of a journey to Bögenhafen and walks over in that direction instead. "You headed for Bögenhafen?", she asks, instinctively glancing at the big horse's mouth to check it's teeth.
Ludwig Herkenhoff The smith looks puzzled "'Orse-shoe nails?" he asks "Sure I got some. Make me own in fact. They fer the hunters 'orse?" "Tell her I'll be 'appy to shoe it for 'er, if it needs it 16/- a shoe."
Ernst Draymen The drayman looks up as Else approaches 'Aye! just as soon as we're loaded. Nearly four leagues so we like to make an early start. But at least it's mostly downhill." he grinned.
Ferdinand Gruber Ferdinand corrects the smith. "In this case I am in need of the nails only. I presume the lack of labour should reduce the price?"
Ferdinand Gruber Belatedly realizing he is being slightly suspicious, Ferdinand adds: "They are to be extras, should an accident befall on the road, of course."
Else Sigloben "My companion and I are travelling that way today ourselves - official business. There's strength in numbers as they say.", Else pats her pistols.
Ludwig Herkenhoff "A wise precaution though twenty might be a tad excessive. You'd need to be extremely unlucky to lose that many shoes at the same time." He scratched the back of his neck pensively as he considered a reasonable cost for a nail. "Can't say I usually sell the nails alone. Shall we jus' keep it simple an' say a penny a nail?"
Ernst Draymen "There's truth in that hunter. Though in truth we rarely have any trouble I doubt that Ranald 'as much use fer logs."
Ferdinand Gruber Ferdinand nods. "That is agreeable." He purchases the nails and places them in his ingredient bag. He moves his lower quality nails to another pocket. This incident has convinced him to practice with other projectiles, once the witchhunter is no longer following him around.
Else Sigloben Else nods. "Well, better safe than sorry. If you're agreeable, we will travel with you today. In fact, although I have a horse, my companion has none. He could sit amidst your logs and keep an eye on the woods, though? I'm happy to say I've found you Harzhalders quick to support of a servant of Sigmar such as myself during my visit - my report to the Order will likely say as much."
GM GM Session Closed The Story will continue with 'Miles To Go Before We Sleep' https://www.tavern-keeper.com/roleplay/12510